Game Review: San Antonio 83, Detroit 79

This is why the Pistons traded for Allen Iverson.

Wait. Let’s try that again.

This is why Detroit pursued Iverson instead of other expiring contracts.

What’s that? Pistons president Joe Dumars did Chauncey Billups the favor of sending him home to Denver, and Iverson was the only Nugget who had a big enough expiring contract to make the deal work?

Well, Detroit has Iverson, and last night’s game showed the upside of the move  at least until Dumars can parlay Iverson’s expiring contract into somebody more valuable.

The game was the type of slow-paced, grind-it-out contest you see in the playoffs. And how many times have the Pistons lost a playoff game because they didn’t have a player who could create his own shot?

From 1:30 left in the third quarter until the end of the game, Iverson scored 16 points. None of his baskets in that stretch were assisted.

Iverson, who finished with 31 points and seven assists, drove for layups, found pull-up jumpers and got to the free throw line. He didn’t look 25. But he definitely didn’t look all of 33, which he has for most of the season.

So even though Detroit lost to the Spurs, on the NBA’s top teams, Iverson performance tonight is encouraging for the Pistons in playoff games.

That is, if they make the playoffs.

Stuck

Rodney Stuckey had an excellent start to the game. He assisted on two Rasheed Wallace jumpers and one by Antonio McDyess. Then he drove for a layup to give the Pistons a 9-0 lead.

Stuckey had seven assists in the first half, but he was a non-contributor after the break.

He didn’t take any shots. He had a rebound and an assist. Add on two fouls, and that’s Stuckey’s complete second-half production.

The Pistons are now 0-5 when Stuckey scores fewer than five points, including their last two games.

Benching the bench

Just two reserves played last night.

Richard Hamilton had just four points, three rebounds two assists and a steal in 34 minutes. Jason Maxiell had 10 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

The shortened rotation really seemed to tire Detroit’s legs as the game went on. The Pistons’ field-goal percentage dropped each quarter. And McDyess, who had a double-double with 7:52 left in the third quarter, added just three more points and rebounds the rest of the way.

Notes

  • Detroit’s five-game losing streak is tied for its worst skid of the season. 
  • The Spurs’ team effort made up for the absence of Manu Ginobili.

Tim Duncan:18 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.

Tony Parker: 19 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. 

Matt Bonner: 15 points (5-of-8 on 3-pointers) and seven rebounds.

Michael Finley and Roger Mason: eight points apiece.

San Antonio has such a winning culture, it’s no surprise the Spurs get performances like this when one of their Big Three is out.

  • Flip Saunders attended last night’s Michigan-Minnesota game at Crisler Arena.

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